Systemically Racist Criminal Justice System in Britain

Britain is one of the most developed countries with institutions that observe equality regardless of gender, age, ethnic background, or any other social identification. However, the recent happenings within the precincts of the criminal justice system prove the opposite. Routinely, the newsrooms have aired cases of Britons and foreigners being segregated based on their skin color. While the police officers have constitutional and legal authority to maintain peace and order, they have continuously harassed the Black community in Britain. Consequently, hatred between Whites and Blacks has floored social media platforms and institutions mandated to serve criminal justice. Weak legislation and institutions have motivated systemic racism within the criminal justice system in Britain.

Racism is beyond physically or verbally harassing someone with an opposite ethnic background. As society shifts towards more advanced social institutions, discrimination is finding its way into society. Systemic racism is a form of ethnic discrimination and segregation that is deeply embedded in the laws and regulations governing a society (Braveman et al., 2022). Therefore, ethnic segregation is openly manifested in social institutions such as criminal justice, education, healthcare, and politics, among others (Elias and Paradies, 2021). Sir William Alan Macpherson of Cluny put it better as “The collective failure of an organization to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their color, culture, or ethnic origin” (Ali, 2022, p. 5). The police, the judiciary, and the courts in Britain are woven into systemic racism, providing ineffective services to residents in Britain.

While it is argued that Britain is one of the most civilized countries globally, recent happenings have proven otherwise. In 2020, two police officers in Hackney strip-searched a fifteen-year-old girl at school without her consent and in the absence of an appropriate adult (Tinsley, 2022). The girl was menstruating, showing the extent of racism, which is beyond human dignity (Tinsley, 2022). Additionally, the deaths of Edir Da Costa and Rashan Charles while in police custody highlighted how the correctional facilities have integrated racism (Townsend, 2020). The two cases are examples of how deeply racism has taken part in the criminal justice system in Britain. Although people sympathize with minority groups who suffer at the hands of policemen, it is crucial to determine the causes of systemic racism in Britain’s criminal justice system.

Britain is one of the pioneers of human rights and systems that oppose discrimination against color and ethnic background. However, various reasons lead to the increasing cases of systemic racism. Greed and self-interest among criminal justice stakeholders are the root causes of ethnic discrimination. The interest in question is ‘whiteness’, meaning the racist White individuals regard themselves as better than the Black community. Additionally, misrepresentation of the Black community in the mainstream media motivates negative attitudes towards the race (Shanahan, 2021). Sadly, the media always represent Blacks as criminals and poor communities in Britain. Consequently, law enforcement officers differently treat Black communities and other minority groups. While there are many causes of systemic racism, the two reasons discussed above are prevalent in Britain.

Systemic racism in the U.S. is worse than in Britain but still detrimental to social growth and development. According to Home Office (2022), in the year ending March 2022, there were 155,841 hate crimes recorded by the police in England and Wales. The number had increased by about 26% from 2021, indicating the seriousness of the issue (Home Office, 2022). Although the given statistics provide a rough idea of the situation in Britain, the numbers may be high given the many unreported cases. The rate in Britain is lower than in the U.S., where six out of ten African Americans cite racism as one of their major problems (Dickinson et al., 2021). While the case in Britain is better than in the U.S., various institutional actions should be taken to bring to an end the immoral and unethical racial discriminative behavior.

Bringing to an end systemic racism in the criminal justice system is a public duty involving all the stakeholders. The policymakers should advocate for legislation that punishes police officers who are believed to have racially harassed inmates or any resident in Britain. The existing laws try to eliminate the behaviors but are ineffective. Therefore, a clear emphasis should be put on the implementation of the formulated legislation. Moreover, public awareness that encourages citizens to report any form of racial discrimination can help reduce the behavior. Setting up a citizen reporting center will encourage the citizens to help authorities in bringing to an end systemic racism in the criminal justice. A country that is free of racial discrimination is economically, socially and politically successful.

Reference List

Ali, S. (2022) ‘Managing racism? Race equality and decolonial educational futures’, The British Journal of Sociology. Web.

Braveman, PA, Arkin, E, Proctor, D, Kauh, T, and Holm, N. (2022) ‘Systemic and structural racism: Definitions, examples, health damages, and approaches to dismantling’, Health Affairs, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 171–178. Web.

Dickinson, KL, Roberts, JD, Banacos, N, Neuberger, L, Koebele, E, Blanch-Hartigan, D, and Shanahan, EA. (2021) ‘Structural racism and the COVID-19 experience in the United States’, Health Security. Web.

Elias, A and Paradies, Y. (2021) ‘The costs of institutional racism and its ethical implications for healthcare’, Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, vol. 18, no. 1. Web.

Tinsley, M. (2022) Whiteness is at the heart of racism in Britain – so why is it portrayed as a Black problem?, The Conversation. Web.

Townsend, M. (2020) What really happened to Edson Da Costa? The Guardian. Web.

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LawBirdie. "Systemically Racist Criminal Justice System in Britain." November 21, 2023.